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The Best Musicals Based on Movies

Updated April 6, 2020 9.4k votes 755 voters 25.7k views71 items

List RulesOnly stage musicals that cite films as their original source material - no adaptations directly from other mediums

List of musicals based on movies, ranked by fans and casual critics. Stage theatre has been a primary form of entertainment for thousands of years, in the forms of plays, operas, and musicals. Around the world, dozens of theatrical performances are brought to life on stages big and small. Most notably, the theatre districts of Broadway in Manhattan and the West End in London are home to the catchiest, most elaborate, most memorable musicals. Nothing is more inspirational than experiencing the art of actors who can also sing and dance with grace and style in front of a large audience of people. It’s no wonder that plays and musicals have remained so popular throughout the years! What are the best musicals based on films?

This list includes the greatest plays and musicals that were inspired by movies, ranked according to the opinions of voters. Which soundtracks have you played nonstop? Which lyrics have you memorized? Some of these plays on this list were smash hit successful Broadway productions that scored several awards and made the actors instant successes. Others are newer shows that are still in trial runs for smaller audiences in cities like Chicago and Los Angeles.

In addition to direct adaptations from film to stage, this list includes musicals inspired by movies that weren't musicals to begin with. Wondering why you don't remember the songs from Billy Elliott or Sunset Boulevard? That's because there weren't any. 
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  • 26
    Saturday Night Fever (1998) is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Musicals Based on Movies

    CharactersTony Manero, Double J., Doreen, Connie, Frank Jr.

    Saturday Night Fever (1977)
  • 27
    42nd Street (1980) is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Musicals Based on Movies
    56
    50

    42nd Street (1980)

    Mark Bramble , Al Dubin

    CharactersPat Denning, Billy Lawlor, Julian Marsh, Abner Dillon, Mac

    42nd Street (1933), which was based on the novel (1932) by Bradford Ropes

    More 42nd Street 

    #15 of 87 The Most Popular Broadway Musicals of All Time#9 of 33 The Best Broadway Musicals of the 80s

  • 28
    Elf: The Musical (2010) is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Musicals Based on Movies
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    68

    Elf: The Musical (2010)

    Elf (2003)
  • 29
    White Christmas (2004) is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Musicals Based on Movies
    57
    59

    White Christmas (2004)

    White Christmas (1954)
  • 30
    Bring It On (2011) is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Musicals Based on Movies
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    58

    Bring It On (2011)

    Bring It On (2000)
  • 31
    Pretty Woman is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Musicals Based on Movies
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    18

    Pretty Woman

  • 32
    Fame (1988) is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Musicals Based on Movies
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    62

    Fame (1988)

    Fame (1980)
  • 33
    Young Frankenstein (2007) is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Musicals Based on Movies
    64
    71

    Young Frankenstein (2007)

    Irving Berlin , Mel Brooks

    CharactersFrankenstein's monster, Victor Frankenstein, Igor, Frau Blücher, Inga

    Young Frankenstein (1974), dir. by Mel Brooks
  • 34
    9 to 5 (2008) is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Musicals Based on Movies
    57
    64

    9 to 5 (2008)

    9 to 5 (1980)
  • 35
    High School Musical on Stage!  is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Musicals Based on Movies

    CharactersTroy Bolton, Sharpay Evans, Chad Danforth, Gabriella Montez, Ryan Evans

  • 36
    Snow White and the Seven Dwarf is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Musicals Based on Movies
    48
    57

    Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1979)

  • 37
    Sunset Boulevard (1991) is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Musicals Based on Movies
    46
    55

    Sunset Boulevard (1991)

    Christopher Hampton , Don Black

    CharactersNorma Desmond, Joe Gillis, Betty Schaefer, Artie Green, Max Von Mayerling

    Sunset Boulevard (1950)

    More Sunset Boulevard 

    #110 of 197 The Greatest Musicals Ever Performed on Broadway, Ranked#42 of 65 The Best Tony Award Winning Musicals

  • 38
    Catch Me If You Can (2009) is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Musicals Based on Movies
    48
    61

    Catch Me If You Can (2009)

    Terrence McNally , Scott Wittman

    CharactersFrank Abagnale Jr., Brenda Strong, Frank Abagnale, Sr., Carl Hanratty

    Catch Me If You Can (2002), which was based on the autobiography (1980) by Frank Abagnale, Jr.
  • 39
    A Christmas Story: The Musical is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Musicals Based on Movies
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    61

    A Christmas Story: The Musical (2009)

    A Christmas Story (1983)
  • 40
    Miss Saigon - when can we have is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Musicals Based on Movies

    CharactersChristopher Scott, Kim, John Thomas, Tam, Gigi Van Tranh

    Miss Saigon is a musical by Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil, with lyrics by Boublil... more on Wikipedia
  • 41
    Seven Brides for Seven Brother is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Musicals Based on Movies
    43
    59

    Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)

    Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954), which was based on "The Sobbin' Women" by Stephen Vincent Benét
  • 42
    A Little Night Music is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Musicals Based on Movies
    27
    36

    A Little Night Music

    Hugh Wheeler , Stephen Sondheim

    CharactersDesiree Armfeldt, Charlotte Malcolm, Henrik Egerman, Count Carl-Magnus Malcolm, Anne Egerman

    A Little Night Music is a musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by Hugh... more on Wikipedia
  • 43
    Meet Me in St. Louis (1989) is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Musicals Based on Movies
    38
    53

    Meet Me in St. Louis (1989)

    Hugh Wheeler , Hugh Martin

    CharactersEsther Smith, Mr. Alonzo Smith, Agnes Smith, 'Tootie' Smith, Lon Smith Jr.

    Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)
  • 44
    Scrooge (1992) is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Musicals Based on Movies
    39
    60

    Scrooge (1992)

    Leslie Bricusse

    CharactersEbenezer Scrooge, Jacob Marley

    Scrooge (1970), which was based on the novella A Christmas Carol (1843) by Charles Dickens
  • 45
    The Who's Tommy is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Musicals Based on Movies
    38
    61

    The Who's Tommy

    Des McAnuff , Pete Townshend

    CharactersUncle Ernie, Tommy, The Lover, The Hawker, Sally Simpson

    The Who's Tommy is a rock musical with music and lyrics by Pete Townshend and book by... more on Wikipedia
  • 46
    The Full Monty (2000) is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Musicals Based on Movies
    33
    55

    The Full Monty (2000)

    Terrence McNally , David Yazbek

    CharactersDave, Horse, Malcolm, Ethan Girard, Jerry Lukowski

    The Full Monty (1997)
  • 47
    The Wedding Singer (2006) is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Musicals Based on Movies
    40
    66

    The Wedding Singer (2006)

    Chad Beguelin , Matthew Sklar

    CharactersRobbie Hart, Julia Sullivan, Linda, Glenn Guglia, Sammy

    The Wedding Singer (1998)
  • 48
    Applause is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Musicals Based on Movies
    13
    26

    Applause

    Adolph Green , Betty Comden

    CharactersEve Harrington, Margo Channing, Howard Benedict, gypsy, Buzz Richards

    Applause is a musical with a book by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, lyrics by Lee Adams, and... more on Wikipedia
  • 49
    Priscilla, Queen of the Desert is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Musicals Based on Movies
    25
    47

    Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (2006)

    Stephan Elliott , Allan Scott

    CharactersAnthony 'Tick' Belrose, Adam Whitely, Robert 'Bob' Spart, Bernadette

    The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994)
  • 50
    Nine (1982) is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Musicals Based on Movies
    28
    53

    Nine (1982)

    Maury Yeston , Arthur Kopit

    CharactersGuido Contini, Carla, Claudia Jenssen, Saraghina, Luisa Contini

    8½ (1963), dir. by Federico Fellini
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